You Will be Ready for a Tradeshow
Let's dive in and start to talk about those trade shows because even though it says will I be ready here? I believe you will um so let me just start by kind of telling you guys my first trade show experience and what yours is not going to be like that, right? So my first trade show was the new york international gift fair. Now if you don't know anything about trade shows it's a biggie two to three thousand booths five days lots of sections major companies along with individual makers and I found out about this trade show everything I read online said apply now it's going to take you two or three shows to get it I applied in people's october I got a phone call in november we have a corner booth in our january show we want to use it to highlight a new jeweler do you want to do it? I said yes without even thinking hung up the phone it was like what just happened? Like I just said I was going to do a trade show in two months and I've never even been to this show, right? Like I don't even k...
now I never walked it nothing um kneels to say few fights of my husband, some sleepless nights, a lot of tears I got there and I made a lot of stuff up as I went along I was taking orders by listening to how my neighbor took orders and then asking the same questions right I need and I showed you guys I didn't have a line she die this useless price list we've already seen and will see you again that really ugly booth is terrible uh huh, but at the end of the day it actually ended up being an okay show. I picked up some really fantastic accounts I met some great people, so despite my not knowing anything, it still worked out. So what we're going to do with you guys is you're going to learn from all the mistakes I made were going to get you ready and then your first show you're gonna knock it out of the park, right? So let's talk about some of the benefits of exhibiting a trade shows and I know that you guys some of you were panicking, especially online, I can't afford it right? I can afford it, they're super expensive, they're really crazy sit tight with me on this one because we're going to talk about a their knowledge expensive as you might think and be there are ways to find a trade show, so sit tight with me while we talk about these benefits where to find shows on that, I promise you we will tackle the money piece and just like we did with pricing we're going to make it so much less scary that's my thing gonna make it less scary for you right so let's talk about some of the benefits of exhibiting at a trade show one of the big big things that I see is that it establishes commitment so buyers see you at a trade show there is costs involved with doing a show buyers know that you're in it to win it right you are into play it also helps you develop personal relationships with buyers so I know my buyers face to face I've met them weave in iraq did you know we talk about what's going on you get to do that friendly chit chat that you're not doing over email you're not calling them and doing it in the store right because they're talking to customers all day so you're building that personal relationship with buyers you're getting to know them buyers get to touch an interact with product before they buy with the exception of that online those kind of still still very small and but growing online market we're talking about physical products in a physical store I can send a buyer this postcard and they're going to think this kind of a nice necklace they're going to see it in the store are we in the trade show they're going to think about how it looks in their store we'll get to that they're going to see it at the trade show they won't even see it on me at the trade show and they're going to think that is an amazing that plus why would I not want that in my store right? They're going to see how heavy it is they're going to see how you know what it weighs all that stuff that we kind of talked about were doing sales, physical products, physical store on being at a trade show lets you see that so then also there are no surprises for the buyer because when you're asking a buyer to place an order of products we've never seen in person there is an element of risk they're right they're going to make assumptions I think it's this big I think it looks like that think it's going to be like that here there is no risk I see it I liked it we wrote the order I know I'm going to get one like this or in the case of those of you who might make one of a kind products I know I'm gonna get something similar, right? But they know what they're going to get you're also gonna find stores that you wouldn't find through research so we're doing the research research works it's important you always gonna be building that list even if you're doing trade shows, but every time I do a trade show I pick up new stores in cities that I've never heard of I think every show I find a new city in massachusetts, I can't believe they're still cities in massachusetts that aren't carrying my work, but I meet them every show, you know, you might find cities you want find things that surprise you. I know that there are a few stories that I have that if I had been doing research and I came across their name or their website, I'm not sure that I would have put them on my list, right? But they're actually great stores and great people, and they sell the product well, the other thing and we don't have a ton of time to dive into this, but trade shows also help you meet press and other industry contacts, so I actually got a question on my website yesterday where someone said, I see that you have a lot of press khalili when she introduced me was nice enough to name a few of those media outlets from hate design sponge cooking light was justin, elle decor. All of that press that I've gotten came from trade shows, and it was super easy because they're they're walking around looking for new great product. Now there are things that you can dio tto help kind of really accelerate that press peace at a trade show. It's not something we can get into here but my friend bridget lyons has a great product for those of you who are interested in that press piece she actually does all kinds of press education you can go to the letter b so be think forward dot com that's bridget's website she's got a great resource on actually how to reach out to press at trade shows so that's a piece you can talk to bridget and she's gonna help you out there, but it is a huge benefit and some of the press that I've gotten was simply by me being there and the press being there now I'm a little more strategic, but in the beginning some of those the cooking light piece, better homes and gardens those just happened because I was there the other benefit of doing a trade show is that it forces a deadline, right? So part of the problem I gave you guys that marketing calendar were filling it out, but we all know that sometimes accountability can be really hard, right? We're talking about that with the front front row group it's hard to keep yourselves accountable, he went about invest a couple grand in a trade show you're going to do everything in your power right to be ready you're gonna get that line sheet done, you're going to get those postcards mailed out so that stores no to find you you're going to get stuff done. You might not sleep for a few weeks, but you're going to get stuff done and that really helps grow your business giving you those deadlines. So let's, talk about where to find trade shows. This is a case where you can go to other designers, websites. Now we talked about when you're researching your stores. I tend to stay away from that in trade shows, it's one of the first places I go, and so you can see you find brands that are similar, my friend a spa seo we look to her catalog before I wouldn't be going to her website because we have different price points in different customers. The austin hipster crowd is not my crowd. Um, but if you had a price point in a customer's similar to a spa ceo, you might go to her website. And truthfully, this is actually how I got started in trade shows in the first place one I started my business, I was doing a lot of retail craft shows, and my entire research strategy was go to the websites of other jewelers who I thought had, you know, work that would hit the same mark, it is mine, I would say what shows are they doing? I would write this down and I would just write them down. And somewhere in all that research is where I came across this little thing, a little thing called the new york international gift fair, and I thought, well, I could also do it it's so I'm going to do it too. The rest is history, so that is a perfectly fantastic strategy for finding trade shows. Instagram has become a really great trade show research strategy. So first off, we want to you know, we know we want to follow potential stores on instagram, right? We want to find stores we want to carry, we're going to follow them, and then you can check out their instagram feed because a lot of the time, if they're shopping a show, they've probably instagrammed it while they were there, and I wouldn't even wait to have it come up through the next time go back through their feet. So this is a shop till the that carries me in portland. Andre were kind of online friends before she ordered, so I actually knew before she placed the last order I knew that she was at the show has fallen on instruments like, oh, debbie's here, but so you confined these stores, head to their instagram and see where they're going. Most of the time they're also using the show hashtags right? Because now every show is a hashtag everybody has hashtag for everything we have a hash tag it's all men live if you guys want to use it but every show is going to have a hashtag so in this case debbie shopping at new york now new york international gift there changed their name to new york now people are gonna call it new york gift until they die till the day I was going to new york gift but it's officially called new york now, so she's going to use this hashtag new york now so if you have so this is gonna help us on two fronts gonna help us on show research and store research because if I know that debbie's in new york now and I hit that hashtag, you see who else is there to write or who else was there? So this is how that hole and, you know, giselle and kelly talked about how much they're on instagram following those chains of links you guys can do that too, but so if you know that you want to be in this store and you see that she always shops new york now, it's going on your list right, the other great thing that you can dio with instagram is you start to get a sense of what happens at a show so a lot of times the show's air going tohave an instagram feed too so you can look at the hashtag but it's a great way to research shows and know if they're a good fit so life in style is actually a show in australia happens twice a year once in melbourne once in sydney this is like my aesthetic all over it man like I write I'm like I want to be here and the only reason I know about this show is because of instagram but it's certainly are my last someday hopefully I'm rolling down australia and doing that show so see beauty of trade shows doesn't have to be your country anywhere in the world s o instagram can help us see that all right, so we're falling stores and designers now I've also put together a little resource list for you guys so yeah because there are standard shows now I'm not going to make any recommendations to anyone about any show because what we want to do is kind of go back tio that you know where our buyers where our stores where where is that but there are definitely stand out shows that you hear people talking about and that resource list put those together by month and then you go ask your peers so we can ask people you know what shows have you done or what shows have you heard of so you can start digging that way, and I would love to maybe just hear from people online are there shows you're thinking about and we can kind of turn to here you guys are too many shows that maybe you're thinking about what have you heard? I walked san francisco international affair just because I'm here as your friend, I am not necessarily sure that was the right fit for me, but rise interesting, right? And it can be definitely helpful to kind of look at those shows, and I know that show has kind of had kind of some ups and downs. It was purchased by another company s o I think it's a little bit of a transition. S o this is also a case where local isn't necessarily better, right? Just because it's your local show, it doesn't mean it's better, and most shows are going to tend to draw a fairly local buyer. Some branch out to a little more international new york now it's a pretty international mix of stores, I get stores from california, I get stores from canada know lots of places, but I mentioned every little town in massachusetts buys my work that's because every store in massachusetts shops new york now it's quick train right down, right, uh, is a buyer's market of american craft, is that creature kraft counts. So yeah, that's a great question. So yes. So there are a few specific shows that are handmade in the u s shows and both of those that you named are so the buyer's market of american craft, they're actually going through a rebrand as well, and they're being changed to the american made show. Actually, they did change the american made show, you know, another one of those where it's going to be called twenty different things for a while that happens. That's the americans made show that is a wholesale show that's a trade show. So let's back up for a second here because I know we're tossing around this wholesale trade show all that stuff back it up. So these shows are shows that are on ly open to the trade, hence trade show so your regular retail customer not going to be able to come in and chop it, those just buyers and impress an industry and then, of course, exhibitors. So you might have heard of, you know, if you're thinking things like renegade and art starr and crafty bastards, those air all retail shows that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about those specific to the trade that said, there are a few trade shows that do cater just a handmade products and these in particular cater to handmade in the u s and canada so american made show that takes place used to be in philly they just moved to d c january in d c on dh then the american craft council show is actually an interesting show in that they have a few days that are wholesale only and then a few days that are retail and you could choose to do one or the other so that's where you might have kind of gotten some confusion, is it wholesale? Is it retail with the american craft council show? You know, they did a huge push, they expanded their wholesale section, but that is a show that you have to apply for pretty far in advance. So look for the twenty fifteen show, I believe applications or do some time in the beginning of august of the previous year, so that was a pretty far in advance. I'm sorry, because this is so foreign. Yeah, I don't understand the difference between the trade show and the retail show. All right, I'm so glad you asked, we're gonna we'll back it up a minute, all right, so a retail show you bring your product, you bring lots of product, right? And that could be a retail show that could be a farmer's market wherever it is, you're selling your retail price point got it, got it to the end customer got it at a wholesale show or a trade show names are interchangeable I'm bringing one of everything on it buyers or writing orders so you might also hear them referred to as an order writing store our order running show every so often you hear a trade show that's called cash and carry so there's a show in vegas pool it's part of the bigger fashion trade shows pool has a cash and carry section there you bring a bunch of product, you sell it at wholesale prices, but buyers actually take it away with them. Most shows actually don't allow this their order writing only manufactured product to typically yes, cash and carry tends to be low price point manufacturer ok about the magic show so actually, pool is part of magic so those are big fashion trade shows. So vegas was one of those hubs for the kind of the fashion shows and what you start to see is that certain cities become known for their trade shows. So obviously new york you have new york now, but then you also get the national stationery show and the international contemporary furniture fair. Those are major new york shows, then you get atlanta and so what you have in a place like atlanta is you have showrooms we're going to skip those it's not important to us but basically showrooms there were sales reps present all their product and those air open all year round but it is in atlanta you have a trade show that then takes place where people come set up their booth smaller companies could do this and you sell just for a few days I'm sure we're getting some online questions time, time well, some people are offering what trade shows they're considering time capsule says sd or america's marked our secret tree house museum store association expo let's see, we have paper asking is the difference between craft shows? Do you think those are valuable? Yeah, so typically if it's a craft show that usually also were first to a retail show not a trade show on the on ly shou I know that uses craft in its name that is a wholesale show is the american craft councils of baltimore wholesale show cashing in nashville wants to know how you get into just walk russia ashley in nashville I'm so glad you have your son we're talking about right now yeah so this is a big question is do I need to visit a trade show before I exhibit at it? Clearly I did not I just went to new york and did it and in some ways I actually think that helped me because like I said dive into the deep end and what I've actually seen as I know a lot of people who come and walk a show like new york gift on there, like I can't do it. It's too big it's too much it's definitely not my first show. I'm not ready, I can tell you it's, not too big, it's, not too much. You would totally do a show like that. So that said, I think it's important to at least go to a trade show before you do a trade show. So this is a case where maybe what you're thinking is I want to do new york now, but I live in san francisco, so I'm going to go like you did walk the san francisco international gift there, right? So that at least you get a sense of what a trade show looks like. You get a sense of what those booths looked like. You see what's happening on the show floor, so, you know, maybe you live in dallas and dallas isn't your market, you're not going to sell their maybe you're actually gonna go to the atlanta show, maybe that's better for you, but you're near dallas. Go walk the dallas show just to get a sense of what's going on now, how do you do that, right, so these shows are trade only right? They're not open to the public they're open to the trade first of all you guys are the trade right? You're part of the trade that's what we're doing here but what you never want to do with a trade show is reached out through registration so when you go to shows website it's going to say you know exhibit register and you're thinking I'm not exhibiting yet I wanna register that's for buyers if you contact the registration staff their job is to sell registration so what they're going to tell you is you need to buy a badge as a non exhibiting manufacturer new york now that badge is one hundred fifty dollars but here's what you do know we don't go to registration we go through a sales so you click that exhibit button and you figure out who the sales reps are for the show because the job of sales is to sell booths to exhibitors you email sales and you say I'm thinking about doing your show can I come as a guest of sales? They're going to say yes every time and you're ready at that free badge because that's what they want to dio they want you to come do their show it's their job to sell booth so they're going to make it super easy for you to scope it out now I will say that there are a few shows that limit how much time you can spend on the show floor doing this so I know I went and walked um e n k accessory circuit it's a high end accessory show. They do not give you like free rein of the show floor. They come in, they talked to you and then the buyer gets there. The sales rep gives you a tour. It's not ideal it's a little bit better to walk around on your own. Get to see a little more, but it still gets you on the show floor. You still see what's going on now, if you're walking those shows, we're going to talk about evaluating the trade show in a minute. But if you're walking those shows it's important that you have good etiquette. So remember that the other exhibitors air there to sell the buyers were not there to answer your questions. I'll be perfectly up front and tell you that if you walked by me in a trade show and I'm not talking to a buyer, I'll answer your questions. But that's me and you guys all know me now, right? Uh, that said, if I'm talking to a buyer, please do not please sounds haven't talked to me. And if I blow you off to start talking to a buyer, you know, I, uh, but for the most part, you know, it's kind of observe a distance, we're getting other questions from the online audience? Uh, well, jay richards has one he says I did three trenches last year and got great feedback from fellow exhibitors product display energy yet didn't get any any orders at the trade show is this normal it's hard to answer that question without knowing the bigger picture of his business? But what I would say is it depends on the show there are certain types of shows were order writing is common. They're certain types of shows where it isn't. So like the international contemporary furniture affair, nobody writes orders it's like networking contacts, and then you come home later and then and then you get the orders without knowing the shows I don't really know, my guess would be that it might have been not the right fit buyer and not the right fit show that's probably what's happening. So you're you're out there, you're work is great, your except the other exhibitors will tell you, it's, great, something is not the right fit with you on the show, and I would look for some other shows. So one more element is asking when you walk a show, can you just step us through what exactly you do at the show? Yes, again, it's life that we're talking about evaluating those shows, right? Uh, so one of the first things that you're gonna want to dio when you're walking that trade show is don't try to cover the whole thing, especially if it's a big show it's, a small show you might be able to do it. It's a big show. You are going to be exhausted. So do your research and figure out which sections of the show, if there are sections, are right for you. So what? A show like new york gifted a show like atlanta, there are sections near gift has handmade. They have a section called accent on design, which is where I exhibit. They have a section for stationery and paper goods. They have an accessory section. So there's a whole lot in atlanta. There's a handmade section there's, a section called boutique. So do your research first, and figure out which sections of the show and there's probably gonna be a couple our most likely right for your product. Ignore the other sections. Just walk those so that's the first thing, then walking that show you want to be on the lookout for certain things to help you know if it's the right show for you so first of all say after that just always look at both design you're gonna get so many ideas for both design as you're walking around but if we're evaluating the show what types of products are sold there and some of this you can do through the show's website too but sometimes it's hard it's just easier faster more visceral just to see it in person right so what types of products are there what's the typical price range again we're not gonna walk into people's booth they're not gonna like barrel through everybody but you start to get a sense of where the prices are you know you glance here and there you start to see what's the price range is a lot lower than me is a lot higher than me you know I'm a kind of right in there you certainly never want to be the most expensive person of the show prices were ho so yeah you know I really like it right here because right you get kind of caught up on everything looks like a retail environment you're looking at a price tag on a piece of jewelry and I'm like like oh that's good and then I you know are right it was like actually like my regular prices yeah right right so all the prices that you're saying thank you for pointing that out are wholesale so they're wholesale they're getting marked up to retail, so what's the price range. What are the types of companies that exhibit at the show? He's like all giant companies or other smaller independent makers or designers too? Because it's a lot of big companies, you're going to feel challenged to stand out. Um, I did one show once in new york gift and thinks shuffle around and generally that's a good show for me, but once the people across for me or this company that manufactured like modern ceramic fireplace, tiffany's laughing cause she's heard the story and so this big company. So first of all, if you're going to have an open flame in the job it's center, which is where new york gift is, you have to have both a pyrotechnic and a fire marshal on staff at all times, plus the honor of the company plus, like ten sales staff. So in this booth across for me are like twelve people just working the booth it's, huge booth, they've got flickering fire and a giant lcd tv it's like being across from disney world. I thought I had my invisibility cloak on I was like, I'm over here, come find me so if you're like tiny booth and a lot of big exhibitors it's not the right fit, fortunately they didn't stay we're back to lots of nice small independent makers in my section and always good, but you want to be aware of that because that's not so good and you wanna know is your brand a good fit with the other brands, you know? So what a show like places like magic and pool it's gonna have this like young hip urban vibe if that's not your brand, I don't care if you wanted to be around if it's not your brand, don't do it you also want to take a look at what geographic areas to the majority of buyers come from. So when you're walking around that show, pay attention to badges everybody a trade show is wearing a badge. Most shows color code them, you know who's, a buyer who was an exhibitor whose press look at those badges while you're walking around where the buyers from and what types of stores are you seeing? You can usually tell if you're seeing big stores or solo stores because big stores by in groups you've got like the anthropology entourage walking by, and they also have all their badges flip so you don't know their anthropology right small stories it's one person, maybe two it's like the couple or the mother and daughter so you'll start to see are like big buyer masses moving around or a little, you know, little buyers and then do these places match where your ideal customers or shopping now some shows you're going to see both new york gift to get the buyer mass and you get those mom and pop shops too and you also just want to pay attention to how many exhibitors and booths are at the show is it huge? Is it small? You're gonna be, you know, big fish, small pond, small fish, giant pond and just because the show was big doesn't mean that you still can't have that like big fish small pond feel if you're in a section that feel small s o I have even the new york is huge other than that one time I was across from the fireplace people I have never felt like us like a tiny fish in a giant pond. I feel like a small fish in a medium size pond maybe, but I don't feel like I can't hang I can't hack it right? So if they've got it, the show divided well, being big isn't it isn't a huge deal and then, you know, do you feel like you belong like is the vibrate for you at the end of the day? Sometimes that's how you're going to make your decision? So when I started in new york gift I started in the handmade section, I didn't know anything about the show clearly I'm except by hand that's where I applied the first time I was there I walked the show and I walked this other section called accent on design lots a broader product range bigger mix not a lot of jewelry but I walked that section I was like I know that I belong here and that was all I needed and people ask me like why'd you move to accent I just knew it was right for me like I knew was my people I knew was my buyer I knew it was the brands I want to surround myself with and so that's really the thing if you're at a show and it feels off it's not a good show anytime I've done a show where I thought well it's not quite right but maybe I'll find some buyers miserable so don't force it you want that vibe to the right and then of course we've got that consideration of booth fi s so when we reach out to sales staff to walk a show as opposed teo just you know going through sales they're going to give us all this information we're gonna get all the details about the show so if you're thinking about doing a show even just a little inkling even if you're not gonna walk it reach out to the sales staff and get the information because you want to know what you're heading into so I want to give you guys some examples of booth fees because I want you to see that there's a pretty big range out there right? So the american made show which we talked about so most of these on here just to make it easy for you guys um I did them at a ten by ten or maybe somewhere around like three meter by three meter because that's a pretty standard size not every booth is going to be that size my booth in new york gift is eight deep fifteen one so most shows actually don't charge as, say, a ten by ten booth like you might get a retail craft show they charge by square footage but just to give us some logical comparisons I pulled almost everything is a ten by ten so the american made show a ten by ten booth is going to cost you around twenty one hundred dollars now that's a show where they want to help first time exhibitors get in so they actually have a section that's six by ten booths on leave for first time exhibitors for a thousand dollars thousand dollars that's also scary we get there right um in new york now handmade I believe it's somewhere around thirty eight hundred dollars for a ten by ten I'm not in that section accent on design is a little higher price per square foot so that's a that's a ballpark number don't quote me on that one um the national stationery show their standard ten by ten booth is going to be just another three grand designers and agents that is ah high end kind of fashion accessory show fifty eight hundred dollars when you start to get into some of those fashion fashion high and accessory shows they charge you a lot more I think because they can and then maisano jai this is a show in paris kind of a home design but also got some lifestyle stuff uh obviously they're measured in meters but three meter by three meter booth is just again a little under three grand, so in some of these shows you can also share booth so that's one option right there you can cut your costs down now in the american made show they won't let you split that six by ten that's it if you're committed to that you're committed to that, but I know that show I believe two people can split a ten by fifteen so then you're not paying for a full ten by ten you're taking a little less space um but I sure like new york now they don't technically allow booth sharing, but I know people who will form like a collective and apply is that so that's the way that you can cut costs as well? So that gives us an idea of kind of price range because any questions about that okay, awesome. So one last thing when we're evaluating and then we'll start to kind of dive into that budget money had a fund stuff um is that you also want to just look at like, how our applications reviewed and one or they d'oh some shows they're going to be actually juried so you some shows let's let's do the opposite some shows air not juried which means you send them your way your application you send them the money your check clears urine right? For most of us we probably don't want those kinds of shows we want to put ourselves with better quality brands where they're at least if they're not jury ng there at least really reviewing and carefully scrutinizing some shows have juried sections and other sections that are open. So this is what a show like new york now does my section accent on design is juried handmade is juried parts of accessories or jury so those were good because you know that you're going to be among higher quality the american made show that you know there during their reviewing on the american craft council show there during as well um so you want to see, you know, is it rolling our applications due at a certain time the american made show they're rolling as long as they're space they're looking at people the american craft council's wholesale show that's that deadline I talked about sometime early august, so you want to be aware of those on and look at them far in advance even if it's a rolling deadline, it helps to apply early because it can help you slide into a better booth right by the end like a couple weeks before they might still have a few booths left, but they might not be the one that you want right there like the back corner that they're trying really hard to fill, so pay attention those deadlines so if you're marking those trade shows on your calendar, make sure you go in look at what those deadlines are back up on your marketing calendar so you can know that you have to have those ready because when you're replying to these shows, they're going to want to see ah line sheet they might ask for a list of stores if you don't have any, don't sweat it. Hopefully, though you all are going to go out and use those marketing strategies that when you apply to your show, you've got at least a couple of stores to put on that list, right? We can all do that it's totally doable you're all gonna have like five stores by next week I know it, you can do it, so make note of that on your calendar and you also want to just make sure you know, do you have to you to continue to do the same show or must you reapply? Most shows you're in you're in but a few they were making reapply or at least they were view what's going on do you have to commit to multiple shows? So some shows it's not we make you commit, but if you don't keep coming, you don't get your same booth, so new york gift is like that my booth is my booth as long as I do every show and that's a twice a year show, I do every show and I don't do something that's so aesthetically awful that they kicked me out of my jury section hey, like if I showed up with like, crap one time I'm out the next time, but as long as you know you keep that consistency, you show up every time you're good, so you want to be aware of that so that you know, if I'm getting into this show, I'm getting into it because I'm probably going to make a longer commitment? Is there a way to know which I'm more likely to be attended by press and therefore you khun perhaps get some good pr out of it as well? Or is that just something that you have to go by? You'll experience that is a great question, so what I would say is that most likely to be covered by press are any show in new york because that's where the press are so new york gift national stationery show international contemporary furniture fair anything that's happening in new york you're always going to see a lot of press that those shows because just a couple blocks over other russians were online I don't think we could all right so one other thing that I want to talk about is something that you might have heard which is the three trade show rule you guys heard this here like maybe so some people and you're going to hear this from show organizers partly because it's their job to sell shows is that you have to try a show three times before you know if it's really right for you or you have to try you have to do a show three times because buyers want to see consistency so those were the two things you know if it's right and so the buyers can see consistency so I'm gonna tell you what's true and false about that rule so you do not need to do a show three times to know if it's right for you it's that vibe thing again I've done shows that were terrible I did my first time an accent on design new york gift was winter of two thousand nine I don't like to believe the recession on things but it was a ghost town but you could roll bowling balls down the aisle I had a terrible show I lost money but I knew ultimately that that was where I was supposed to be if I could just work my way through it it was gonna work I've also been to shows where I did them you know what? Maybe I hadn't walked at first it wasn't a super expensive show I figured I'd give it a try was further away didn't take me three shows to know not my fit so in terms of knowing if it's the right fit that when I don't believe now the thing about buyers wanting to see you a few times I think there is a little bit of truth to that but here's what I found you can cheat this they don't have to see what the same show right? So my first year of trade shows I did new york gift fair in january I did the american craft council's wholesale show in february and then I did new york gift again in august three shows one year that works I've done three shirt trade shows in one season that's tough I don't recommend that one but what happens is if you think okay I'm gonna do three shows and I do one show and then I wait a year and do that show again and then I wait here and do that show again you're not going to get momentum that way so the three treasure world there is a little bit of truth to that but you could do it with multiple trade shows you can build that up over time so it's not a hard and fast rule um and you can kind of build consistency through a lot of shows all right, yes you've seen doing your postcards and stuff kind of leading up to them absolutely so the other thing that happened I'm so glad you asked that so the other thing that happens with a show is that people are really actively in the show right? The show didn't bring enough buyers in nobody came to my booth I was in a bad spot first of all I'm not one for that I'm like personal responsibility girl so what I always say is it's the show's job to get the buyer to the door it's your job to get them to your booth and that's where this pre show marketing is critical so I will not go to a show without having first on a postcard mailing yes not everyone who gets my postcard is going to come to that trade show but they're going to see that I'm doing that trade show and they might get in touch with me and say hey, we're not going to be there how else can we see your product now? Some shows actually pre much every show might also try to sell you advertising right you can advertise in their pre show mailer you could advertise in the show directory. For the most part, I've found my postcard mailing tends to be more effective because it's more targeted. The one exception I hear over and over again to that is the atlanta gift show. Atlanta is huge. They've got a ton of exhibitors, and they've got all those showrooms, and buyers get that show guide in the male early, and they do their research because they have. They would never make it otherwise. And so that's a case where I've heard over and over again, that advertising in that atlanta pre show guide or show guide is essential for your success. But you always want to pair other marketing with the trade show, because you can't expect it to happen all on its own.